Sujata was a featured speaker at a recent transit-oriented development (TOD) workshop in Hartford, Connecticut, focused on understanding the potential for development along new transit lines in the “Knowledge Corridor” region. The Knowledge Corridor will soon have a new bus rapid transit line linking New Britain to Hartford –set to open in a couple of years — and is also planning a commuter rail connection between Hartford and Springfield, Mass. The workshop was co-sponsored by the Capitol Region Council of Governments (the metropolitan planning organization for the Hartford region) and the Partnership for Strong Communities, a regional organization focused on affordable housing and equitable development. Other presenters included Stephanie Pollack, Associate Director of Research, Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy, and David McCarthy of the Jonathan Rose Companies.
Sujata and David presented their ongoing market study for the Knowledge Corridor, which has found that there is a market for TOD in the region, particularly as “Millennial” workers enter the housing market. But given that the region’s projected population and household growth will be slow, and the real estate market fundamentals are still challenging, David and Sujata recommended that the state, region, and local governments begin by 1) making strategic investments along the transit corridors, including infrastructure improvements; and 2) targeting existing economic development dollars to TOD locations. Sujata highlighted the Cleveland Health Line as a promising example of a BRT corridor that leveraged its existing large anchor institutions, including universities and hospitals, to catalyze TOD. Because the Knowledge Corridor is rich in anchor institutions and major employers – many of them within the BRT and rail corridors – this could be a key strategy for moving forward with implementing TOD in the Hartford region.